ITIL & The SMB Part 5 Change Managment

September 10, 2008

Change Management is the last of the anchor 4 processes. It can also be the hardest, and the most difficult for SMB’s to do. (Part 1 of this series is here)

Yet without it, a lot of your previous work is wasted. For example, you have taken the time and effort to document all your CI’s as per the configuration management process, then the next day someone changes it.

For a real world example;

80 percent of system failures are due to change, and 80 percent of the “time-to-fix” lay in establishing just what changes had taken place.

I’m thinking of making this one a couple of posts, first a general summary, then breaking down some possibilities dependant upon organization size. (ie smaller businesses vs. more mid-market)

Within ITIL the definition of Change Management is;

…the addition, modification, or removal of approved, supported or baselined hardware, network, software application, environment ….

The intent of the process is to ensure that there are standard methods & processes of implementing change to the IT environment. That includes planning for the possibility that the change fails.

It covers any, and all, changes to the environment as to ensure that the changes are carefully contolled and consistent.

The fairly dry ITIL texts summarize the process as;

Authorization & planning
Management & Coordination
Management Information

Yeah Right.

ITIL Masters that have done multi-million dollar implementations can keep those. Each of these breaks down into numerous issues, but again as this whole series is for a high level overview, I am keeping my poetic licence for over simplification.

The SMB Translation


Classification of the change can be simply considered as the risk or severity of the change. Will the change have a minimal effect on your business. (ie. a new printer is being installed.) Or is there a severe risk. (ie nobody can work)

Authorization and Planning

ITIL lingo gets into the concepts of Change Review Boards etc. In our SMB space it means knowing what and when. (noon is NOT a good time to install an upgrade on your e-mail server) And the planning is what the hell are you doing if it screws up. It is also the time to review the current configuration and the reasons for it.

Management & Coordination

Like the above, who needs to know that the email server is going to out of commission for an upgrade this Sunday? And if you have a Monday deadline for some project and people will be working on the weekend, You may want to schedule another date.

Management Information

I have gone over this previously yes, the ho-hum documentation and updates required. Too easy to forget – but critical not to. As well as the updates to your Configuration Management Database (CMDB)

This also covers the metrics that you can utilize;

– Visibility into the numbers and types of changes including success and failure rates
– How many In progress, completed, or in other stages of the pipeline
– problems that have occurred from change (fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!)
– and the costs of change, including resources or downtime

Next post will cover some examples.

Update: Change Management and the Smaller Business is here.

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